In this edition

VET system “a mess”, says Productivity Commission

The Productivity Commission has delivered a blunt assessment of the state of the vocational education and training (VET) system in its landmark five-year review of the economy.
“The VET system is in a mess, and is struggling to deliver relevant competency-based qualifications sought by industry,” the report says.
The report, ‘Shifting the Dial: 5 year productivity review’, recommends a move to proficiency-based assessment, so that rather than providing a qualification based on a minimum standard, there is grading based on relative performance.
“A comprehensive consultation process with employers, training providers and students should be used to identify suitable areas for early adoption. This would also provide lessons about the best pathways to developing proficiency‑based assessment more broadly,” the commission says.
“Models would be the subject of employer and VET provider review, with a process that supported early adopters to trial and deliver proficiency assessments.”
The commission also says that training packages are too numerous, too detailed and too specific to current job requirements.
“They need to be broadened to ensure they also equip people with sufficient skills to adapt to changes in the workplace.”

Taiwan and Australia embark on new phase of VET collaboration

TAFE institutes will benefit from a new agreement with Taiwan’s Workforce Development Agency (WDA), with an MoU exchanged between TAFE Directors Australia and WDA during a ceremony in Taipei last week.
Taiwan and Australia have a strong history of collaboration in VET, having completed two joint projects over the past four years. These saw Australian VET experts support the introduction of a competency based training system in Taiwan, as well as deliver training to TVET trainers in Taiwan’s large training centres – training which has now been embedded within Taiwan’s system.
The MoU was exchanged during the Asia-Pacific International Symposium on Competency Application and Talent Application.
TDA’s Director for International Education, Jen Bahen, represented TAFE during the ceremony, and said “This third phase of the agreement between TDA and WDA represents more opportunities for Australian TAFEs to participate in the continued reform of Taiwan’s TVET system and to build relationships with partner institutions in Taiwan.”
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Closer agreement between Taiwan and Australia; Deputy Minister Lin, Minister for Workforce Development (centre) and Workforce Development Agency Director-General, Ms Huang Chiu-Kuei (third from right, front) with attendees
Closer agreement between Taiwan and Australia; Deputy Minister Lin, Minister for Workforce Development (centre) and Workforce Development Agency Director-General, Ms Huang Chiu-Kuei (third from right, front) with attendees

Responsibility for TAFE shifts in mini-reshuffle of Labor frontbench

Responsibility for TAFE under the federal ALP has been handed to Senator Doug Cameron, under minor changes to the shadow ministry announced by leader Bill Shorten.
It follows the decision by the former shadow minister, Kate Ellis, to step down and not contest the next election.
Senator Cameron adds TAFE to his current responsibilities as Shadow Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships.
Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek adds Training to her existing responsibilities as Shadow Minister for Education and Shadow Minister for Women.
Amanda Rishworth  joins the shadow cabinet as Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development, in addition to her current role as Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.

Employers show high rate of satisfaction with training

Employer satisfaction with the quality of the vocational education and training (VET) system remains at relatively high levels, according to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).
Its latest research shows that 75.4% of employers were satisfied that vocational qualifications provided employees with the skills they require for the job, similar to the result in 2015.
A total of 77.5% of employers were satisfied that apprentices and trainees were obtaining skills they require from training, down 4.2 percentage points from 2015.\
For TAFE, the highest rate of employer satisfaction was with unaccredited training, at 99.5%, followed by nationally recognised training (85.6%) and apprentice and trainee training (81.8%).
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Input invited into digital economy blueprint

The federal government has released a Digital Economy Strategy consultation paper which will be used to guide the development of a digital blueprint to be unveiled in the first half of next year.
The consultation paper sets out a series of themes and questions for consideration. Among the question’s posed, it asks, “What opportunities do we have to equip Australians with the skills they need for the digital economy, today’s jobs, and jobs of the future?”
Among other things the strategy will set out how Australia can develop world-leading digital business capability, and address the ‘digital divide’ in skills.
The consultation is open until 30 November.
There is also a new online tool called Dialogue where it’s possible to engage and provide feedback

Gender stereotypes and VET image problem hurting students

Gender stereotypes and negative perceptions about a vocational career still pervade much of the thinking among students considering their future, according to research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).
The paper, “Choosing VET: aspirations, intentions and choice”, finds this is contributing to misunderstanding among students about their ultimate career goals, and the study pathways needed to get there.
“Some mistakenly believe they require a university degree for a VET-related occupation, including aspiring hairdressers who thought they required a university qualification, and aspiring surgeons who intended studying at TAFE,” the paper says.
“It suggests that schools and/or VET providers have more to do in ensuring that students and their parents or carers have a greater awareness of the range of education choices that vocational training offers and where they might lead,” it says.
It finds that primary and junior secondary students have formed negative perceptions of VET or TAFE which do not reflect contemporary realities, while gender stereotypes persist.
“Some students indicated to the researchers that their school organised TAFE excursions for them to try out different courses, but the girls had to do hairdressing and the boys had construction-related experiences.”
The Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews, said the government is committed to raising the status of VET to encourage more school students to consider a VET pathway.
Minister Andrews said the government plans to add an RTO dashboard to the MySkills website which will enable consumers to use training provider quality and outcome information to make decisions about a training provider.

Aviation Australia joins with TAFE Queensland

Queensland aviation training college, Aviation Australia, is to become part of TAFE Queensland.
The Minister for Training and Skills Yvette D’Ath said the move would allow Aviation Australia to leverage the size and experience of TAFE Queensland to expand its presence across the aviation and aerospace industry.
Aviation Australia was established by the state government in 2001 and delivers a range of pilot, cabin crew and aircraft maintenance and engineering programs.
TAFE Queensland interim CEO Mary Campbell said the move was positive for both Aviation Australia and TAFE Queensland and would strengthen their presence in local and global aviation markets.
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UK association of colleges conference

There’s still time to register and attend the pre-eminent further education conference in the world – the Association of Colleges annual conference in Birmingham, England on the 14 and 15 November.
There are exciting speakers and topics in concurrent sessions that are relevant world-wide, particularly here in Australia.
It will bring together experts in education and business to present the latest in the field of further education, both nationally and internationally, and from experts across the country.
If you are attending would you mind letting us here at TDA know:
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Diary Dates

OctoberVET 2017
AVETRA (Australian Vocational Education And Training Research Association)
October & November 2017
Victoria, NSW, Western Australia, Queensland & South Australia
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International Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) Conference
THINK BIG for Global Goals
1 – 3 November 2017
RMIT University, Victoria
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National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
1 – 3 November 2017
Radisson Blu Hotel, Sydney
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Australian Training Awards
23 November 2017
National Convention Centre, Canberra
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STEM in Defence Summit
Australian Defence Magazine

30 November 2017
Hyatt Hotel, Canberra
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Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group (ACDEVEG) 
VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education Conference
7 & 8 December 2017
TAFE Queensland, Southbank Campus
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